More major physician groups post patient reviews

By Aine Cryts

Two physician groups have become early leaders in a movement toward taking their online reputations into their own hands by--somewhat counterintuitively--inviting patients to have their say.

Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Oregon announced this week it will provide access to online ratings for its more than 1,300 physicians. St. Elizabeth Physicians, a physician group in northern Kentucky, has invested $100,000 in a new web-ratings initiative that will allow patients to post ratings and comments about doctors and other medical providers, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.

"We know patients have choices, and often turn to the Internet for information about healthcare and physicians," said Imelda Dacones, CEO and executive medical director of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in the announcement. "We want to give them the most thorough and accurate picture possible as they make important decisions about which providers they'll choose."

St. Elizabeth Physicians wants to "build a relationship with patients before they even make an appointment," Brian Schack, M.D., told the Cincinnati Business Courier about his physician group's move to share patient reviews online. 

Other organizations that have taken this proactive approach have reported positive results. University of Utah hospitals and clinics, for example, started publishing patient reviews last year. The result? A "fire hose effect," in which positive reviews strongly outnumber the bad, according to Chrissy Daniels, director of strategic initiatives.

Patients' reviews are generally positive. Still, if patients have negative experiences, they aren't shy about talking about it online, FiercePracticeManagement reported previously. Words such as "wait" or "waiting" proliferated in reviews of Western Dental, which garnered an average rating of 1.8 stars, when most dentists across the country receive 4 stars.

Practices can't ignore bad patient reviews on review sites they host or others such as Yelp and RateMDs. Rather, see how that feedback can improve your practice, advised a post on KevinMD.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Permanente Northwest announcement
- read the Cincinnati Business Courier article
- read the KevinMD post